On the mountain, we have a micro-climate that is different from lower altitudes – we get fog, ice and snow when no one else does and we get more of everything. The vineyard has already been covered with snow and ice several times this winter. However, while the vines are dormant now and won’t wake up again until April/May, that doesn’t mean we are not working!
This is the time when we will hedge the vines to get rid of the long canes which will make pruning easier. Starting in February, we will begin winter pruning, an arduous task which sometimes requires a saw in addition to heavy duty pruners. We prune to get rid of the dead wood and encourage the correct number of clusters in the right places on each vine.
We don’t prune when it snows, but we can’t let the cold stop us. So the pruning often takes place with the wind whipping around us, and I know I already reported in an earlier blog that the wind blows so hard on the mountain, it sometimes tears the shingles off my roof!
In addition to the outside work, this is also the time when we are racking the wines to remove the clear wine from the sediment that sinks to the bottom of the barrels. The racking gets rid of the bitter lees and enhances the aroma and taste of the wine. Racking involves gently pumping the wines from one barrel to the next and even the aeration that occurs is good for the wine, especially the reds. Speaking of reds, I have all the barrels of wines that will go into our classic Bordeaux-style blend sitting in one area, so that I can soon start the blending. These wines are Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, and they all love being together. I can’t wait to start experimenting with the blending, trying small samples of each wine in different proportions to see which will be the winning formula for this year’s Raven Rocks Red.
Next time I will talk about how the wines are developing and our plans for bottling day.
Stay warm! Visit us at the Twin Oaks Wine Tasting Room for some heart-warming mulled wine, made with our Raven Rocks Red.